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Leslie H. Gelb

President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow

Expertise

U.S. foreign policy; national security; Russia; Middle East.

All Publications

CFR Events

General Meeting ⁄ New York

Lessons of Diplomacy: An Event in Memory of Richard C. Holbrooke

Speakers:

Christopher R. Hill, Dean, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver; Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and former Special Envoy to Kosovo, U.S. Department of State, Vali R. Nasr, Professor of International Politics, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; Former Senior Adviser to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. Department of State, Frank G. Wisner, International Affairs Adviser, Patton Boggs, LLP; Former Ambassador to Zambia, Philippines, Egypt, and India, and former Foreign Service Officer, Vietnam, U.S. Department of State

Presider:

Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
January 17, 2012 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Reception
6:00-7:15 p.m. - Meeting
7:15-8:00 p.m. - Cocktail Reception

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Guest Event ⁄ New York

Reflections on Citizen Revolt in the Middle East

Panelists:

Rima Afifi, Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Education, American University of Beirut, Rami Khouri, Director, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, American University of Beirut, Karim Makdisi, Assistant Professor of Political Studies, American University of Beirut, Rami Zurayk, Professor of Land and Water Resources, American University of Beirut

Presider:

Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Introductory Speaker:

Peter Dorman, President, American University of Beirut
May 18, 2011 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Reception
6:00-7:00 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ New York

U.S. Strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan: Report of a CFR-Sponsored Independent Task Force

Panelists:

James Dobbins, Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center, National Security Research Division, RAND Corporation; Member, Independent Task Force on U.S. Strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Robert Grenier, Chairman, ERG Partners; Member, Independent Task Force on U.S. Strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Daniel S. Markey, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, Council on Foreign Relations; Director, Independent Task Force on U.S. Strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan

Presider:

Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations

Introductory Speaker:

Anya Schmemann, Director, Task Force Program, Council on Foreign Relations
December 16, 2010 12:30-1:00 p.m. - Lunch
1:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ New York

Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue Foreign Policy

Speaker:

Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue Foreign Policy

Presider:

Peter G. Peterson, Founder and Chairman, Peter G. Peterson Foundation; Chairman Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations
March 18, 2009 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Reception
6:00-7:00 p.m. - Meeting
7:00-8:00 p.m. - Cocktail Reception and Book Signing

This meeting is not for attribution.

Listen

General Meeting ⁄ New York

A Conversation with Fouad Ajami

Speaker:

Fouad Ajami, Author, The Foreigner’s Gift: The Americans, the Arabs, and the Iraqis in Iraq; and M. Khadduri Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University

Presider:

Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations
July 11, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ New York

Illegal Trade: The Consequences for the Global Economy

Speaker:

Moises Naím, Editor, Foreign Policy

Presider:

Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations
October 19, 2005

This meeting is not for attribution.

Listen

General Meeting ⁄ Washington

Iraq: The Way Forward: Session 1

Speaker:

Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Judy Woodruff, Broadcast journalist and former CNN anchor
September 26, 2005

This meeting is not for attribution.

Listen

General Meeting

Ten Days in Iraq: A Trip Report

Presider:

Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations

Speaker:

Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations
April 26, 2005

This meeting is not for attribution.

Listen

General Meeting

A Debate: The Future of Iraq

Presider:

Michael Doran, Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University

Speakers:

Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations, Martin S. Indyk, Director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution
February 4, 2004

This meeting is not for attribution.

Watch

Press/Panels

Video Interview

Les Gelb on Iran-U.S.-Israel War Dance

The U.S. and Iran are engaged in a "mutual game" to forestall any attack by Israel on Iran's nuclear installations, but at some point that game will begin to wear down, raising the prospect of military action, Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, tells WSJ's John Bussey an interview Tuesday.

Watch

Testimony

Senator Webb Calls for Clarity in U.S. Response to Syrian Crisis

Senator Webb urged his colleagues to heed the recent words of Leslie Gelb of the Council on Foreign Relations: "When interventionists become avenging angels, they blind themselves and the nation and run dangerously amok. They plunge in with no plans, with half-baked plans, with demands to supply arms to rebels they know nothing about, with ideas for no-fly zones and bombing. Their good intentions could pave the road to hell for Syrians. Preserving lives today, but sacrificing many more later."

Article

The Future of Hamas

The Atlantic recently asked a group of foreign-policy authorities about what lies ahead for Hamas.

Bio

Dr. Leslie H. Gelb is among America's most prominent foreign policy experts. A Pulitzer Prize winner, former correspondent for the New York Times, and senior official in state and defense departments, he is currently president emeritus and board senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He served as president of the organization from 1993 to 2003.

Prior to his tenure as president of CFR, Dr. Gelb established a distinguished career at the New York Times, where he was a columnist from 1991 to 1993, deputy editorial page editor from 1986 to 1990, and editor of the op-ed page from 1988 to 1990. He was national security correspondent for the Times from 1981 to 1986, where he won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 1986. He was diplomatic correspondent at the Times from 1973 to 1977.

Dr. Gelb was a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 1980 to 1981, where he was a consultant to the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. From 1977 to 1979, he was an assistant secretary of state in the Carter administration, serving as director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs, where he received the State Department's highest award: the Distinguished Honor Award. He was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution from 1969 to 1973, during which time he was also a visiting professor at Georgetown University. He was director of Policy Planning and Arms Control for International Security Affairs at the Department of Defense from 1967 to 1969, where he also served as director of the Pentagon Papers Project. While at the Defense Department, Dr. Gelb won the Pentagon's highest award, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award.

He was executive assistant to U.S. Senator Jacob K. Javits from 1966 to 1967, and an assistant professor at Wesleyan University from 1964 to 1966.

Dr. Gelb currently serves on the Center for National Interest Board of Directors, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Board of Directors, the Diplomacy Center Foundation Board of Directors, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation Board of Advisors, and the Truman National Security Project Board of Advisors. He is a former trustee for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, trustee emeritus for Tufts University, and the former Chairman of the National Security Network Advisory Board. He formerly served on the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University Dean's Council, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University Board of Advisors, the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University Board of Overseers, and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Advisory Board. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Gelb received his BA from Tufts University in 1959 and his MA in 1961 and PhD in 1964 from Harvard University. He is the author of Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Foreign Policy (2009) and Anglo-American Relations, 1945–1950: Toward a Theory of Alliances (1988). He is also co-author of The Irony of Vietnam: The System Worked (1980), which won him the American Political Science Association's Woodrow Wilson Award; Our Own Worst Enemy: The Unmaking of American Foreign Policy (1984), and Claiming the Heavens: The New York Times Complete Guide to the Star Wars Debate (1988). He is the recipient of an Emmy Award and an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for his work as a producer of ABC Nightline's Crisis Game.

Dr. Gelb, who resides in New York City, is married to Judith Cohen and is the father of three children. He was the recipient of the Father of the Year Award in 1993.